A program to provide the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with an unrivalled armed reconnaissance helicopter capability achieved a major milestone today with the delivery of the last production Tiger Helicopter.
A two-crew helicopter, many of which are now entering into service with armed forces around the world including operational use by French Army in Afghanistan Tiger ARH022 was accepted by Defence at local defence manufacturer Australian Aerospace’s Final Assembly plant on Brisbane Airport.
The formal hand-over ceremony was attended by representatives of the Commonwealth, aviation and aerospace industry executives, senior officers of the Australian Defence Force, and senior management of Australian Aerospace Limited and its parent; Eurocopter.
Acquired under Project Air 87, the Tiger replaces Defence’s existing rotary-wing force comprising Bell 206B-1 (Kiowa) reconnaissance and UH1-H (Iroquois) gunship helicopters. The Tigers have been deployed with the Army’s 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin, the Army Aviation Training Centre at Oakey in Queensland and at RAAF Edinburgh, in South Australia.
Commenting at the final delivery, Dr Jens Goennemann Chief Executive Officer Australian Aerospace, said: “This is a great day for Army Aviation, the Australian Defence Force and for Australian Aerospace, marking another important milestone in the ARH program.
“The Tiger ARH has been a complex and demanding program and one not without its fair share of challenges,’ Dr. Goennemann said. ‘But extensive collaboration and a cooperative approach by Australian Aerospace, our industry partners and the various ADF branches involved has been a significant contributor to where we proudly stand today.”
Dr. Goennemann said delivery of ARH022 did not signify an end to Australian Aerospace’s Tiger relationship with the ADF. “Australian Aerospace will continue to work with Army to support, maintain and bring this important new platform to maturity within the ADF.”
Under Project AIR 87, as well as assembly of the Tigers and delivery of ground crew training systems, Australian Aerospace is also responsible for the overall program management and Through-Life-Support (TLS) of the helicopters throughout their service life.
The Tiger ARH is the world’s most advanced armed reconnaissance helicopter, comprising a streamlined design incorporating cutting-edge technologies. The largely composite airframe makes the Tiger lighter, faster and more agile than its competitors and reduces the helicopter’s radar cross-section.
Equipped to carry a 30mm turreted-cannon in the nose, 70mm rockets and Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, the Tiger can detect and engage targets at long distances. The French Defence Force has operated its Tigers in Afghanistan since 2009 and in Libya in 2011 with great success.
The strong relationship between the ADF and Australian Aerospace holds true across Australian Aerospace’s range of Defence programs. The company supports the C-130J Hercules Transports, the AP-3C Orion reconnaissance aircraft and the MRH90 multi-role helicopter. The MRH90 is presently being assembled in-country and delivered to Defence. The two partners recently signed a deed agreement to pave the way for the successful introduction of the capability into service.
About Australian Aerospace:
With more than 1100 staff in Australia and New Zealand, Australian Aerospace has access to the financial strength and expertise of Eurocopter and the EADS Group. At its production facility on Brisbane Airport, Australian Aerospace is currently assembling and delivering 22 Tiger ARH armed reconnaissance helicopters for the Australian Army and 46 MRH90 multi-role helicopters for the Army and Navy. In addition to its helicopter capabilities, Australian Aerospace supports the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) AP-3C Orion reconnaissance aircraft and C-130J Hercules transports. The company is also involved in supporting the RAAF’s new Airbus A330-based Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT) aircraft and F/A18 (Classic) Hornet fighters.
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